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For a city that takes so much pride in its citizens’ collective health, it often surprises me that Denver doesn’t have more restaurants overtly focused on nutrition. The Mile High City is home to a few amazing vegetarian and vegan spots, but those following the tenets of the Paleo diet (often called the caveman diet, it’s a way of eating that excludes grains, refined sugars, and dairy, among other things) haven’t had many options. That’ll change early next week, when Just Be Kitchen opens its doors in the Highland neighborhood.
The fast-casual, completely gluten-free concept has taken root in the building on 15th Street that housed Mona’s Restaurant for the past 12 years. Just Be founder Jennifer Peters has given the formerly cramped, dim locale a serious overhaul, removing the orange ceiling and dark flooring and replacing it with a relaxing—spa-like, even—palette of soft blues and greens. Inspirational quotes adorn the walls of the space, which is designed to encourage diners to take a “mindful moment” as they eat.
Peters tapped chef Carrie Baird—formerly of Brazen and Rioja—to run the kitchen; Peters and Baird first connected at Brazen’s monthly paleo dinner series. Since then, Baird has delved deep into paleo-friendly fare, obsessively perfecting her grain-free hamburger buns, almond flour tortillas (which bend, rather than crumble—no easy feat), and other baked goods. The resulting menu reads like a straightforward list of breakfast-and-lunch items rather than screaming “health food.”
Breakfast options include crunchy, grain-free granola made with mixed nuts, dates, coconut, and a nice pop of salt, as well as an egg, bacon, and “cheddar wiz” (a cheese-esque blend of root vegetables and brewer’s yeast) breakfast burrito, wrapped in Baird’s tortilla. At lunch, diners will find everything from a grass-fed burger to a sausage-crusted “meatzzza” to a bone broth bar with DIY garnishes. Just Be will also serve dairy-free coffee drinks (made with Method Coffee Roasters and Copper Door Coffee Roasters beans), as well as a short list of wholesome alcoholic beverages. The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Bonus: The serene back patio is dog friendly, so feel free to bring Fido along.
2364 15th St., 303-284-6652